Lawsuit filed in fatal Rittenhouse fire escape collapse

fire escape collapse rittenhouse
A man looks at the site of a balcony collapse on Jan. 12 that injured three people who fell 35 feet on 22nd Street near Rittenhouse Square. Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro

A lawsuit has been filed by the families of a deceased man and his injured female roommate against the owner of the Rittenhouse apartment building where a fire escape collapsed, causing both to fall 40 feet.

The lawsuit against landlord Alex Khorram of The Khorram Group was filed on behalf of Albert Suh, 22, who died in the fall, and his roommate Laura O’Brien, who suffered severe injuries, Philly.com reported.

Suh and O’Brien were roommates in the building on 22nd Street and St. James Place, and were hosting a birthday party when they and one other roommate, not named in the lawsuit, stepped onto the fire escape to smoke.

The suit states that the corroded iron rails of the fire escape broke, and the platform fell away from the wall.

The city’s Department of Licenses & Inspections found after the collapse that the fire escape was deteriorated. City law requires property owners to maintain their buildings’ fire escapes.

O’Brien suffered a leg wound that required 60 stitches, and her back injuries required surgery, including the implantation of steel rods and plates, the lawsuit says. The third roommate reportedly suffered a broken back.

Suh was a financial analyst for JP Morgan Chase and had recently graduated Penn State University. O’Brien is a kindergarten teacher at Grover Cleveland School in North Philly.

The suit, filed in Common Pleas Court, seeks unspecified damages.


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